Ah, the allure of Vegas. Why else would runners be willing to get up in the middle of the night to catch a bus out to the starting line of the Las Vegas Marathon, and then wait 90 minutes for the race to begin? For those not too tired to keep their eyes open, sunrise revealed the fabled, glimmering Las Vegas Strip, which must have seemed like a mirage given that it looked so close, but no closer after miles of running along a straight highway. Not put off by this somewhat surreal course, a handful of TCLA runners braved the initial morning chill to participate in either the full or half marathon.
In the marathon, Frank Siering set a p.r. with a 3:16:32. Of course, he was "bitterly disappointed" with this "mediocre" time. His judgment was apparently based on his 6:20 mile pace well through the halfway point. Given this fast start and the clear view of Vegas in the distance, he must have thought he was hallucinating when he hit the wall. The pain, however, was quite real, and it required much physical suffering, mental strength, and the company and encouragement of Terence Young and Jacinda Raiche over the last six miles to enable Frank to finish. Never one to not take advantage of the situation, he soon headed straight for the casinos, saying, "I think I'll go throw some more money away." It is unknown whether his gambling went any better than his race, but he was seen leaving Las Vegas in bare feet and tattered running shorts.
Elsewhere in the field, Marlon Feiger turned in a solid 3:26:08, though it was not up to his Boston-qualifying expectations. The purportedly fast course was deceptive in that it really pounds the quads, and he can look for better time on a level course. Sore quads also plagued Mike Kukuchka, who crossed the line in 3:55:26. Also on the road, Todd Carey, who runs marathons as effortlessly as gold-chained, pinky ring-wearing Brooklynites lay down $100 on the Knicks, showed up for a 4:12:02 "workout."
In the half marathon, Tim Peterson did not let his field reporting duties distract him, and he ran a 1:28:18, about 30 seconds faster than his last effort at the distance in Long Beach three months ago. Two great efforts by the two Stephanies, Cahn and Elkins, led to two reported p.r's of 1:40:39 and 1:49:15, respectively. Ellen Kukuchka also reached her goal of breaking two hours with a 1:53:04. Finally, those who simply scan results might think that Jerico Enriquez ran with his wife, but he had actually given his number to someone else and sat out due to a slight knee problem.
All in all, it is a well organized race, but after two days in the slick, fantasy world which is Las Vegas, the TCLA'ers were ready to return to the slick, fantasy world which is Los Angeles.
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